A Tale of Two Encouragers

The Scene: 5th Grade

The Characters: A music teacher, a mom, and an insecure 10 year old

The Setting: Small town Virginia, 1970s

In fifth grade, a very exciting and unusual thing occurred. Our young, beautiful music teacher announced that she was having auditions for a big musical, “Oklahoma,” by Rodgers and Hammerstein. Yes, the original Broadway version of the musical, edited of course for 5th grade appropriateness. Live music and everything.

We were all beside ourselves with excitement and nervousness. I went home and announced the news to my mom after school. She was a wonderful musician herself, and promptly ordered the “Oklahoma” album so that I could learn and practice the songs to get ready for the auditions. She calmed my many anxieties and steadily encouraged me that I could do this.

Auditions came and went, and lo and behold…..Ado Annie came my way. After a brief disappointment that I didn’t get Laurey (which, by the way, was much too high for my singing voice and not right for me), I dived into the role and thrived under my music teacher’s encouragement and direction.

Somehow, that group of untrained, untried fifth graders pulled off the musical, and we gained confidence and memories that would last a lifetime.

So thank you, Mom. Thank you, Debbie Greeley. You made a huge difference with your love and encouragement. Love, Lisa

P.S. If any of you reading happen to know this song, it will do wonders for your mood to sing along with it this morning. By the end, you will be singing your head off and loving it! 🙂

P.S.S. If any of you would like to share stories of someone who encouraged you along the way, I would love to hear them in the comments below. 🙂

P.S.S.S. Cathy Liles Sweeney….you better be singing along! LOL

Making and Fixing


BancoWe live in a small rural village in Virginia.  Close to the mountains with farmland and foothills all around us.  Yesterday our little corner of the world was bustling with activity.  The three doors down artist was outside in his field with easel and paints, capturing green fields and children playing.  The two doors down mechanics were changing huge tires on an even bigger tractor.  The next door cabinetmaker was creating new custom furniture from old beautiful wood.  And me?  Well, I was teaching students how to make music the best I could…sculpting and shaping their notes into phrases that communicate something, hopefully something beautiful.  Making, fixing, creating….it made me grateful for the neighbors, for their amazing work ethic, for how they find joy and fulfillment in what they do.  And it made me grateful that we are all made in God’s image….creating is what He does and continues to do every day.  He’s making new people, fixing old ones, and creating beautiful things everywhere you go.  And that is something to smile about.  :)Slainte, Lisa